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In this summer of our wretched discontent, Trump supporters have begun proclaiming that the unrest in Democratically controlled cities is a harbinger of America under Biden.
Only a moment of true reflection should be needed to see the absurdity of such a lie. But let’s take a little more than a moment, and spell it out.
Where was this unrest during the Obama years? For that matter, where wsevas it during the George W. Bush or Clinton years? The answer is it was not there. Or, at least not nearly to the extent we see it today. Yet, Democrats have run big cities in the United States since any of us alive can remember. So, what is different today? In a word—Trump.
Trump divides America. He encourages racists. He cheers on police brutality. He dehumanizes immigrants and the undocumented. Even in the face of the worst pandemic in a hundred years, he engages in denial, and encourages his supporters to believe conspiracies and resist common sense measures to save lives.
The unrest today is a direct result of Trump’s incompetence, narcissism, and nihilism. He has caused the deepest recession since the Great Depression, while every other developed country has the pandemic largely under control today. And unlike every other president since at least Nixon, Trump offers no hope or comfort to a nation in pain. Indeed, Trump actively destroys hope. He exacerbates our pain. He seeks to exploit it.
So when multiple cases of police misconduct result in multiple deaths of Black men and women, is it any wonder that millions rise up in protest? And when millions take to the streets and hear derision, not only from a reactionary corner of America, but from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, destroying any hope they might feel, is it any wonder some small segment of the uprising lashes out?
Looting is wrong. Destruction of property is wrong. Violence is wrong. And no leader, or national voice among the Democratic opposition, supports such lawlessness, least of all, Joe Biden. But the president makes use of the lawlessness as pretext to engage in intentionally provocative, constitutionally questionable actions like using tear gas on demonstrators outside the White House for a blasphemous photo opportunity, or sending unbadged federal militia to cities against their citizens’ wishes. He then uses newly provoked lawlessness as further pretext. The president and his army of sycophants, projecting as always, is now desperately trying to pin the state of the Union on Democrats.
Why does Trump do this? Why is he employing a strategy of hate and division? Why is he killing tens of thousands of Americans through the gross negligence of his office? And why is he exploiting social unrest, rather than seeking ways to heal the country? Why?
Because he can do nothing else.
This is Trump’s character. And it happens to be the only possible path to reelection for him—scare suburban America into believing a “law and order” president is needed in the face of urban uprisings. Donald Trump is trying to run a classic mob protection racket on America.
But most people aren’t so easily fooled. Sure, there is a core of supporters who, through willful ignorance, will accept anything Trump says regarding the unrest. Witness the frenzied support for a murderous vigilante and the casual acceptance of a cop shooting an unarmed Black man in the back seven times (in-the-back, seven times!). But most people can put two and two together.
There is nothing inconsistent with believing in law and order and believing that there is still much injustice in the world to be corrected. There is nothing inconsistent with supporting good police and supporting the demonstrators, while simultaneously condemning cops who wrongfully kill and rioters who perpetrate violence and destruction of property.
America has faced tough times in the past. Sometimes one side of the political divide could rightly say that the other side was, at least unintentionally, responsible for the tough times. But not since the Civil War could one side rightfully blame the other side for evil intent. Yet that is where 2020 has taken us.
Trump is intentionally dividing us and exploiting the unrest that he created and encourages. Don’t let him win. Let’s take our country back from the brink on November 3rd.